Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Title: MRI: Development of a Robust High-Repetition Rate, Ultrafast mid-IR Laser Source for Spectroscopy and Sensing
Spectroscopy harnessing the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum is critical for scientific analysis for a vast array of fields. MIR vibrational transitions are dipole allowed, and can present a large interaction cross-section allowing for sensitive and specific detection of molecular species. Intellectual Merit: To address the need for robust, compact, energy efficient and relatively inexpensive ultrashort pulse MIR radiation, we will develop a novel ultrafast MIR spectral source. The source will be fiber-based and thus, tts low cost and portability will lead to an effective source for a wide range of chemical and biological applications. This source will extend applications of MIR spectroscopy to a large community, facilitating new experiments through the short pulses and high repetition rate available. The combination of short pulses and broad spectral bandwidths promise to reveal new insights using time-resolved spectroscopy, as well as the fingerprinting of chemical species in atmospheric samples. Broader Impacts: Because this equipment will be substantially less expensive and relatively easy to use, we expect it to have a substantial broad impact on student education. We plan to involve undergraduate researchers in both laser construction and spectroscopy applications. Involvement by students at our partner institutions and through summer undergraduate programs (REU, McNair, LSAMP) will as well as from CSU will allow us to encourage students from diverse backgrounds. We will also incorporate this laser source into three courses in our graduate curricula, both in ECE and Chemistry.